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Em dash short cut 
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Joined: 2017-06-13 09:21:48
Posts: 6
I don't know if I'm particularly clueless, or if it's just taken me ten years to think of this...
the em dash, the long dash, used during scenes of tension, action, (There are better definitions for this. What I do is 1. look for explanations that include good examples like those in books I respect. I could teach a four credit grad level course in the punctuation of J.K. Rowling. 2. Every year or so I re-read these explanations learning that mostly I'm using them 'correctly' but I've missed some nuances.... and 3. Even as I mostly use them correctly, I still feel I'm never really sure... 4. Then I don't worry about it too much.)
The key command for an em dash is — Shift-Option (short dash). Shift-Option for me uses my pinkie and thumb UNDER my hand. I miss the keys alot. Makes me crazy. Also when I miss all kinds of other things happen. The font gets smaller.

Yesterday, duh! moment.
What would be easier? Treat it as a spelling correction like when hte is automatically corrected to the.
so I did this -- (two short dashes) is automatically corrected as <space> em dash <space>, which is how I use it. (Again I might be wrong about the spaces)
This is from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Whomping Willow.
>>Mr. Weasley glanced at his watch and then at his wife.
“Molly — ”

“No, Arthur — ”
“No one would see — this little button here is an Invisibility Booster I installed — that’d get us up in the air — then we fly above the clouds. We’d be there in ten minutes and no one would be any the wiser — ”
“I said no, Arthur, not in broad daylight — ” <<
[Like I said, J.K. Rowling has a lot of interesting punctuation. She'll go wild with ellipses or the em dash, and then she'll back off. I'm not complaining. The little details and quirks just make the stories that much more fun. Reading the Harry Potter books is time better spent than getting an English MFA. Maybe it should be J — K — Rowling —

2017-06-15 10:46:33
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Joined: 2002-07-11 17:14:10
Posts: 4251
Location: San Diego, CA
I'm a fan of em dashes and Harry Potter too, though not necessarily in that order. Though honestly I'm pretty sure I misuse and/or abuse dashes of all sorts, just because I like to use them in my writing.
so I did this -- (two short dashes) is automatically corrected as <space> em dash <space>, which is how I use it.

Ah that's a good tip. Adding a variety of often used punctuation to Nisus Writer's QuickFix list is a nice idea, for those characters with hard to remember (or hard to type) keyboard combinations.

For myself I should probably add entries for the ¶ and ° characters, since I always forget how to produce them. When the time comes, I usually just hold down the Option key and start banging away near the Y key until the desired character appears, since I know they're somewhere around that area!

2017-06-20 09:45:27
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Joined: 2007-10-21 14:59:09
Posts: 272
I don't know if it is my keyboard layout, or a general behaviour, but my hyphen/minus (-) key enters the following signs:

- Normal: hyphen/minus (-)
- Opt-key: en-dash (–)
- Shift-Opt-key): em-dash (—)


2017-06-21 04:20:28

Joined: 2014-02-08 12:57:03
Posts: 169
Location: Australia
G’day, Paolo et al

This may vary with the keyboard layout you choose (eg, via the Input Source menu that you construct in the Keyboard section of System Preferences).

The behavior Paolo describes is in accordance with an Australian keyboard and probably with most other English-language keyboards. Those keystroke combinations yield the same results with (for example) a German keyboard, except that the hyphen key in the latter occupies a different physical position on the keyboard.

It’s conceivable, though, that keyboards for some other languages may not offer all three characters in the same way or even at all.

Other options for dealing with the generation of problematic characters include adding them to the Special Characters Palette or using a macro.


MacBook Pro (mid-2014)
macOS Sierra 10.12.6
Nisus Writer user since 1996

2017-07-11 21:21:14

Joined: 2007-03-03 09:55:06
Posts: 494
Location: Europe
Hello, Adrian.

You might need to customize the keyboard layout. You can do this using an utility called Ukelele ( I myself used it years ago. It’s very simple and easy to use. You can create a custom layout you can select through the keyboard selector.

Cheers, Henry.

Edit: Oops! I meant Will N too, not Adrian. :)

2017-07-14 07:18:42
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